Productivity • Management • Operations • 38 minutes

The Battle of St. Louis: Collaborating with the Competition

August 22, 2023

Episode Overview

Contractors all over the country know good help is hard to find. In St. Louis, however, the hiring problem has been flipped upside down. 

Tony LaMartina Plumbing Co. President Matt LaMartina knows plenty of eager young talent is available–but a local law limits the number of apprentices he can employ.

LaMartina’s solution was to band together with the competition in St. Louis to advocate for changes to the unhelpful law. 

It’s a work in progress. Meanwhile, LaMartina had to overcome different obstacles to grow his father’s company to where it is today.

In transitioning to preside over the business, the younger LaMartina knew he needed assistance. 

“My advice to others is to find someone that can help you run the business,” he says. “Find an organization that can give you the playbook to execute on.”

Even with an MBA, LaMartina finds himself constantly learning new things about running a contracting business.

Case in point: Potential customers want a plumbing company to be accessible, above and beyond just a telephone call. 

“Customers really wanted to communicate with plumbing companies,” LaMartina says. 

That includes being active on social media. And being responsive to problems that might arise at all hours of the day.

LaMartina says that in addition to accessibility, customers are drawn to companies that have upfront pricing policies.

“ServiceTitan has been incredible for us to be able to put together a world-class pricebook,” he says. “That allows us to roll out upfront pricing in ways that we never could have done before.”

With customer service issues like that well in hand, LaMartina has more time available to fight city hall regarding apprenticeship regulations. Stay tuned.

Matt LaMartina recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 8 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included LaMartina’s thoughts on:

  • (4:23) Navigating a path in a family business

  • (7:45) Trying not to “grow broke” while meeting customer needs

  • (18:18) Why you need to offer customers more than a phone number

  • (24:23) How a partnership with a local school evolved into a fight for labor

  • (31:13) Networking and collaborating with your competition

To hear more stories from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.

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About the Show

Toolbox for the Trades is a podcast where top service professionals share the tips, tricks, and tactics they use to succeed in their industry. Hosted by Jackie Aubel, this podcast is brought to you by ServiceTitan—the leading home and commercial field service software.

Episodes will feature stories and strategies to help contractors grow and scale their service business.

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